Aspen sells infant formula unit to Lactalis for US$860 million

Employees walk in front of the entrance of the French dairy group Lactalis headquarters in Laval, western France, January 12, 2018. (Reuters pic) 

KWAZULU-NATAL: Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. agreed to sell its infant formula business to French dairy group Lactalis International for 739.8 million euros (US$860 million) and said it would consider further disposals.

The deal will enable the drugmaker’s Asia Pacific, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa divisions to focus on the main pharmaceutical operations, the Durban, South Africa-based company said in a statement on Thursday. The unit, known as global nutritionals, contributed 3.09 billion rand to revenue and 512 million rand to profit in the year through June.

Aspen, which sells products such as hormones, anaesthetics and anti-retroviral medicines in more than 150 countries, said in January it was weighing options for the infant-formula unit following an unsolicited approach last year. The company has been using the business to drive a push into China, where it gained approval to sell its Alula formula products earlier this year.

Full-year earnings per share excluding one-time items rose 10% to 16.05 rand per share, Aspen said in the same statement.